Morris Laloshi is putting all those negative millennial stereotypes to shame.
And the lessons he’s learned are ones anyone (not just millennials) can utilize in building a business in the 21st century.
A Familiar Story
“My father wanted to bring us to America,” says Laloshi, who was born in Albania. “The first chance my father got to leave when Communism there was over, he just left. He sold his four restaurants and never looked back.”
Morris Laloshi (Photo by Austen Amacker)
Laloshi’s family would embark on an odyssey that covered five different countries and 13 different states before finally settling in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“When I was 13, my father started a cleaning company,” Laloshi says. “It was 2010, and I decided I’d build his business website for him. I thought, if you build the website, they will come. But nobody did. I was getting frustrated.”
Laloshi went on Google and began researching how to drive traffic to his father’s website.
He soon discovered the importance (and power) of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
“It was mind-blowing,” he says. “I started trying some things here and there, applying what I was learning, and all of a sudden, it started working. My father starting getting new business from his website.”
Building a Business
Laloshi began helping others he came across with their websites, providing free SEO services.
“I was a kid,” he says. “I had no idea people would pay me money to do it.”
Eventually, someone told Laloshi he’d happily pay him $500 to do SEO for a website of his, and a business (SEO Guys Inc.) was born.
While he’d put in the time and effort to learn a skill (SEO), apply it and generate great results for others, Laloshi, still just a teenager, had no idea how to actually build a business.
“The first thing I did was find some mentors,” he said. “I sought out people who were doing what I wanted to accomplish, and I asked them for help.”
He started with his father, who had owned and run several businesses, and then branched out, eventually finding a full-time business coach, along with going through sales training programs from Grant Cardone and others.
No Substitute for Hard Work
Now, at age 20, Laloshi provides SEO for Fort Lauderdale-based businesses, along with other clients all over the United States.
But building a six-figure business didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen by accident.
“I started out with one client, and then I tried to turn that into two,” Laloshi says. “I started out cold calling – 80, 100, 150 calls every day.
“And it was very, very rough at first because with SEO … well, if people don’t know, SEO is an investment that takes at least six months to start up and start working. So in the meantime, I had to be generating revenue. I had to be generating meetings and finding clients.
“So I just picked the phone and started calling, calling, calling, emailing, doing meet-ups, just everything and anything. And it worked.
“In the beginning, it was pure hustle and effort,” he says. “That’s how I got my first handful of clients.”
Immigrant Work Ethic + Old School Approach
Laloshi credits both his upbringing and family’s work ethic along with an “old school” approach (he still puts his direct phone number on the front page of his website) as two big reasons he’s had so much success.
“People always ask me, how can you be so dialed in when you’re only 20 years old?” he says. “Why am I not just out there playing Xbox with my friends? The reason is simple – my family.
“My mom and dad left everything – their family, their friends, everything – just to get me to a country where I won’t be held back or limited by anything at all. Even my immigration status doesn’t limit me from doing what I love, making money at it and taking care of the people I love.”
You Must Commit
If you want to be successful in building a business, no matter what age or stage of life you’re in, Laloshi says you must do one thing above all others.
“You have to commit,” he says. “When I started this little, Fort Lauderdale SEO company, I committed. I quit everything else I was doing, and I committed to building this business. If you don’t commit, it doesn’t matter what you want to do – you won’t do it.”
Working hard, finding mentors and refusing to believe anyone owes him a thing.
At age 20, Morris Laloshi is definitely not doing the “lazy millennial” stereotype any favors.
By John Nemo
Originally Published in Inc